Isabella Boylston adding her own take to the newly-coined #EsmeraldaChallenge.

Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation...but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.


The variation, which stems from a rarely-performed 1844 ballet based on Victor Hugo's famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, is a competition classic, favored by bunheads eager to show off their extension and control. But earlier this week, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston took to the internet, channeling her stir craziness into her own version: complete with frozen pizza.

Soon after, BalletMet dancer Jim Nowakowski joined in, also risking toe-bruising with a frying pan, à la Wong. But note that Nowakowski one-upped the other two by masterfully turning his développés.

Of course this begs the question, is the #EsmeraldaChallenge (as our friends at Pointe have chosen to coin it), quarantine's next big thing? At least we've given you a task for your weekend: Pull out your own pans, pizzas, frisbees, tortillas or whatever else you have on hand, and add your own version to the mix. Don't forget to use the hashtag #EsmeraldaChallenge and tag @pointemagazineofficial on Instagram. Happy dancing!

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Dancers at work in USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance's facilities. Photo by Ema Peter, Courtesy USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance

Meet 5 Recent USC Kaufman Grads Making Waves in the Dance Industry

Since welcoming its first freshman BFA class in 2015, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance has made a name for itself. The Los Angeles dance program is known for creating versatile artists in a collaborative, innovative training environment, and its alumni are already making bold professional leaps.

Dance Magazine caught up with five recent grads to see where they've landed and how USC Kaufman and its career services department prepared them for their future in the dance industry.

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July 2021